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John Legend Pays Tribute to Ukraine with a Performance of ‘Free’

The singer received the first-ever Recording Academy Global Impact Award.

John Legend’s 2022 Grammy Award performance opened with a virtual message from Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy before the Grammy Award-winning singer gave a powerful piano-led tribute to the war-stricken country with a debut performance of his single “Free”.  The EGOT titled holder was accompanied onstage by Mika Newton and Lyuba Yakimchuk, a poet from Donbas who fled the European country just days before.

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Legend was honored on Saturday (April 2), during the Recording Academy Honors Presented By The Black Music Collective with the inaugural Recording Academy Global Impact Award for his personal and professional achievements in the music industry.

“John is one of the most important artists of our time, someone who leads by example and pushes important boundaries consistently across music, philanthropy, and activism. His contributions and impact to music and our culture are unparalleled,” Valeisha Butterfield Jones, co-president of the Recording Academy, said in a statement.

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